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Will Brexit affect my holiday in 2019?

With many people making their holiday plans for 2019, and for those who have already booked their trips, the ongoing Brexit discussions and negotiations may have got you thinking - what effect a Brexit deal, or no deal, will have on your holidays.

We’ve put together some information around some of the most frequently asked questions about Brexit and what it means if you’re travelling either to, or from, the EU after 31 October, 2019.

The UK Government has now confirmed a new date for the earliest potential departure from the European Union (EU). It has moved back from Friday, April 2019 to Thursday, October 31.

While the political situation remains uncertain, we will continue to update this page as, and when, we receive more information or clarity.

What happens if we leave the EU?

Will passports be valid after Brexit?

The first thing you need to do is check the date your passport expires. The current UK government advice recommends you have a minimum of six months left on your passport on the date of your trip to an EU country after 31 October 2019. However recent information around the no-deal option has said that in certain instances you might need up to 15 months remaining.

We recommend you check the latest government passport advice - there’s an online passport checker tool you can use if you are unsure. And they've got specific advice on travelling to all countries in the EU to give you peace of mind when booking.

Should I allow more time for passport control post-Brexit?

If you’re travelling to the EU after Brexit then please bear in mind you should give yourself more time at the airport, port or rail terminal and other border controls for passport checks. This is because UK passport holders will no longer be able to use the usual EU/EEA/CH lanes. Even if there is no visa requirement, it is entirely possible that there would be extended checks, for example around the duration and purpose of your stay, which will mean queues take longer to clear. If you’re travelling soon after the current Brexit date - October 31, 2019 there is a likelihood of disruption and some delays at border controls as the systems change over.

Will I need a visa to travel to EU countries after Brexit?

The European Commission originally announced in November 2018 that, even in a no-deal scenario, UK passport holders can still visit the EU without a visa. This was, however, dependent on the UK providing the same agreement to European citizens visiting the UK. In December the European Commission said that potentially from 2021, UK visitors, in line with other non-EU countries, would need to apply for a ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) in the event of Brexit. However the latest legal changes by the European Parliament means, for now, UK Nationals will not need a visa for short stays - e.g. holidays. This should be the case even in the event of a no deal Brexit.

Will my flight still be allowed to go to the EU?

As per the latest information available, in case of a deal being agreed between UK and EU by the 31st of October 2019, all flights between UK and EU would continue as normal at minimum until end of 2020. In case of a no-deal exit from EU by UK, both sides agree to avoid any disruptions to existing services and are working towards introducing reciprocal agreements to allow UK and EU airlines to continue operating in each other’s territories without interruption for foreseeable future.

Again we'd urge you to check your travel insurance cover to make sure the terms and conditions cover any possible disruption.

How will journeys by Eurostar be affected? - Travelling to the EU by train

At the moment the rules for Eurostar should follow the rules for flights, but as soon as we get more information on this we will update this section. The latest govenment talks between the UK and EU regarding cross-border rail services are covering all the range of scnearios - including No Deal.

The government has said that the current status in terms of rail passenger rights will remain the same, and would be brought under UK law. They do advise however that you do have comprehensive travel insurance and you should check with your policy holder that this is sufficient to protect against any disruption. 

At the moment the UK passport control is in France and French passport control is in the UK - this is likely to change in the future when the UK is no longer in the EU.

Do check online the latest Eurostar and Eurotunnel travel information before you leave for the station.

What happens if I’ve already booked to travel after 31 October 2019?

The current advice from the European Commission is that flights to and from the UK will still be able to operate. lastminute.com is a fully licensed travel agent/tour operator, so rest assured your booking is in good hands and we will update any information on this page as it becomes available to us. As it stands all bookings departing after 31st October 2019 are confirmed.

Will the European Health Insurance Card still be valid?

The EHIC currently allows any EU citizen to gain access to medical care when they are travelling in another EU country. The situation is unclear on this in the light of an agreed Brexit deal, but if we do leave the EU in a no-deal Brexit situation UK registered EHICs will no longer be valid.

Either way we always strongly advise customers to take out travel insurance when travelling, whether it is to the EU or globally. If you have a current annual policy we advise you to check with your insurance provider to ensure it covers your current circumstances and see if they’ve written in any small print around Brexit.

Is a UK driving licence valid after Brexit?  

At the moment if you have a full UK driving licence you don’t need an additional permit to drive in the EU. However this is more than likely to change if there is a no-deal Brexit. In this scenario you should apply for the relevant International Driving Permit. You can find out all the up-to-date information on the government website relating to driving abroad.

Will duty free return when we leave the EU?

If there’s a no-deal Brexit agreement, travellers going between the UK and EU could be entitled to duty free allowances on certain goods. The European Commission website has some guidance on it here.

Will I still be able to travel with my pet?

If you are thinking of travelling with your pet on, or after, 12th April 2019, we recommend you discuss arrangements with an Official Veterinarian at least four months ahead of travel. While even in the case of a no-deal, pets should be able to travel, it may well mean changes to the documents your pet will need and the health checks they have to undertake. Keep an eye on the latest information on the UK Government’s page dedicated to pet travel to Europe after Brexit.

What changes will there be to using my mobile phone abroad after Brexit?

This could depend on your mobile phone provider. Currently the UK comes under EU rules for making calls, sending messages and using the internet on your phone (data roaming). These may still apply if the UK Government agrees a deal on Brexit, but in the event of a no-deal they won’t. Some UK providers have already said they’d continue the benefits as before - but if you’re unsure check your contract and mobile phone providers policy before you travel.

Will rules change on credit card use overseas after Brexit?

Over the last few years the Pound has fluctuated against the EURO and there is no way to tell what effect Brexit will have on currency. In terms of credit cards, you should check with your bank to see if they have a policy on using these abroad - whether it will incur higher charges for example - after Brexit. You could apply for a pre-paid travel card that is specifically designed to be used abroad as a way of getting yourself the best possible rate. All-inclusive holidays can also be a good option - as unless you leave the resort, you know what you’ve spent before you travel.

Where else can I find out information and advice about travel after Brexit?

The UK Government website is a good place to start - they have a whole section on Brexit where you can find out information and the latest news affecting travel. The government’s Travel Aware website is also useful for information on visas, vaccinations and wider travel queries. The European Commission website also has information around Brexit.